Former ‘90210,’ ‘Robin Hood’ actor sues after bar assault
Updated 10:58 am, Friday, April 14, 2017
DARIEN — A Darien actor is suing a town restaurant and the man he claims left him disfigured after a December fight.
Matthew Porretta, 51, whose IMDB credits include “90210” and “Robin Hood: Men in Tights,” filed a complaint last month against Christopher Aikler, of Norwalk, who police say struck Porretta with a glass mug in the head. The suit also names Steven J. Palmer, the owner of Chez Ernie’s Cafe in Darien, where the alleged assault took place.
According to the complaint filed in state Superior Court in Stamford, Aikler, 44, hit Porretta with a beer mug, causing the mug to shatter and Porretta to hit his head on a table and fall to the ground. Porretta suffered severe injuries, including lacerations to his left eye and cheek, a facial fracture and injuries to his spine and nasal septum. The documents allege some of these injuries are permanent.
The fight occurred around 12:30 a.m. on Dec. 18 at Chez Ernie’s Cafe on Tokeneke Road. The documents claim Chez Ernie’s sold alcohol to Aikler when he was already drunk. At some point, Porretta and Aikler crossed paths and Aikler allegedly struck Porretta with a beer glass. The glass smashed on the side of Porretta’s head and the left side of his face and the impact of the blow caused him to fall backward on to a high-top table. He struck his head and fell to the ground.
Around 1 a.m., police responded to the bar and found Porretta and a Southbury man had been injured in the fight. The Southbury man had been punched in the face. Both men were taken to Stamford Hospital, where Porretta needed emergency eye surgery to save his left eye.
According to an affidavit signed by Porretta, he did not know Aikler and only remembers waking up on the ground and being covered in blood.
Aikler had been removed from the bar and had left the scene prior to the officers’ arrival. After an investigation where police were able to view surveillance video of the incident, police determined Aikler was the suspect and met with him on Dec. 22. On Jan. 11, Aikler, a resident of Bayne Street in Norwalk, turned himself in to police on a warrant for charges of second- and third-degree assault, as well as one count of breach of peace.
The criminal case is still pending and Aikler is expected to appear on April 27.
Since the incident, Porretta has been left with “permanent and disfiguring scarring,” according to court documents, and has had three surgeries. He will likely require surgery on his left eye and is at an increased risk for losing his vision. He has also experienced “mental and emotional injury” and his complaint said he has lost wages and the ability to earn an income, as well as the ability to pursue other activities he once enjoyed.
According to his complaint, Porretta is seeking damages in excess of $15,000 for these injuries and losses. Under the Dram Shop Act, which holds a business accountable for serving alcohol to an already intoxicated person, Porretta can sue Chez Ernie’s.
A representative at the office of Porretta’s attorney, Michael Burrell, of Adelman Hirsch & Connors, said Burrell could not comment on the case.
Representatives for Palmer and Aikler did not respond to requests for comment.